Pepco seeks rate increase in wake of Hurricane Irene

(Photo: WJLA)

Months after Hurricane Irene ravaged the East Coast and left millions without power, Pepco is looking to its customers to recover the money it spent to turn the lights back on.

The utility is asking the Maryland Public Service Commission to approve a 4 percent, or $68 million rate increase--the second in two years.

That increase translates to a nearly $6 per month increase for Montgomery and Prince George's County customers starting next July.

Manny Bramao is one of several Pepco customers who do not believe they should have to pay.

"Pepco is a very large company and they should be able to manage their capital expenditures and their maintenance," Bramao said.

While many people who live in the area say they don't want to see their monthly bills go up, Pepco says the extra $68 million is necessary if no one wants to see their power go out.

In addition, Pepco President Thomas Graham says their crews will be out trimming trees and replacing old cables. They've also added additional customer service phone lines and hired more staff.

"We heard from our customers and we know they expect our service to improve," Graham said. We are trying to meet their expectations."

The commission is expected to pay to vote on the proposal in the new year.